The heartbroken family of Nicola Furlong, the Irish student who was murdered in Japan, have spoken about the heartache of losing their beloved daughter and sister.
A Dublin City University student, Furlong was found dead in a Tokyo hotel room after she and an Irish friend attended a Nicki Minaj concert on May 23.
In July, a Japanese court ruled that a Richard Hinds, a 19-year-old American man accused of murdering the Irish woman will be tried as an adult. A date has yet to be set for the trial.
The 21-year-old had been in Japan as an exchange student and had been studying at the Takasaki City University of Economics in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture.
Speaking on RTE’s Saturday Night with Miriam program, her parents Angie and Andrew said they are still trying to deal with the shock.
Angie said: "We’re getting over the shock of it very slowly, day by day, and trying to learn to live with the pain."
She recalled how Nicola had texted her to tell her how excited she was about attending the concert.
"They attended the concert and had a great night. They came from the concert then and they met two guys who told them the best place to go for clubs and socialising in Tokyo. The girls went there and met the guys in the bar again.
"Just from what we’ve been told the boys bought them some drinks and they can’t remember anything after that."
Her younger sister Andrea has spoken about how she had her sister’s face tattooed on the inside of her left arm as a reminder of the pretty blond.
"Me and Nicola had our names tattooed on each other before that. We both got our names tattooed in Arabic on each other.
"I said I wanted to get a tattoo and then someone sent a drawing of Nicola with angel wings and flowers and everything around it.
"Then I said I was getting a portrait. I brought it in and he drew it up for me."
Speaking on the RTE program, the only sibling of the Wexford student said the pair were in constant contact.
She said: "We were so close and never did anything without each other. She texted every day and Facebooked every day.
"It’s just so hard not having Nicola on the end of the phone and Facebook. She’s not there anymore. Sometimes I go to text her and I have to stop myself."
Nicola’s father Andrew said the family have been overwhelmed by the support shown to them by the community.
He said himself, Angie, and Andrea intend to travel to Tokyo for the trial when a date is finalised.
"All three of us are going back out. I’m very confident we will get justice for Nicola at the back of it all," he said.
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